'Printing Money Like Gangbusters'
February 10, 2012 by Chip Wood
Bond guru expects much more inflation. Pimco founder and co-Chief Investment Officer Bill Gross warns that central banks are “printing money like gangbusters.” Our own Federal Reserve is leading the way. The Federal Reserve balance sheet, which stood at $869 billion in August 2008, passed $2.9 trillion at the end of 2011. The manager of the world’s largest bond fund points out that money printing increases the risk of reflation. “That’s why we’re seeing the pop in oil and gold etc.,” Gross said.
Consumers reduce credit card debt. Although today’s Straight Talk column talks about the astronomical debts Americans owe (both private and public), there was one piece of good news last year: The average amount owed on personal credit cards dropped by 11 percent in 2011, according to one tracking firm. The average amount owed fell from $7,404 to $6,576. With some cards charging upward of 15 percent interest, that’s still a hefty amount in debt service; but at least it’s getting better.
Do we really need a leap second? Because it takes our planet slightly longer than a year to circle the sun, we add one day to our calendar every four years to compensate. Thus, a friend of mine who’s been around for 64 years gets to celebrate her “Sweet Sixteen” birthday this Feb. 29. But I didn’t know that in the interest of even greater accuracy, scientists have also been adding a leap second to atomic clocks every so often. The next one is due to be added this June 30. Do not bother to adjust your watch.
I don’t think MIA meant No. 1. The most exciting Super Bowl in many a year is now history. Congratulations to Eli Manning and the New York Giants for an extraordinary victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The only thing I found disappointing were the ads, which weren’t nearly as captivating as they’ve been in the past. I chose to miss the halftime show, so I didn’t see Madonna cavorting like a teenager or British singer MIA with her rude lyrics and crude gesture — none of which would have added to my enjoyment of a great game.